Resolution moved by education minister contends legislation indicates ‘extremist tendencies’ of incumbent government
The National Assembly of Pakistan on Monday passed a unanimous resolution condemning the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, claiming it discriminated against minorities, especially Muslims, in India.
Moved by Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, the resolution said New Delhi’s adoption of this law indicated the “dangerous extremist tendencies” of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.
The Citizenship Amendment Act has caused outrage across India, with protesters demanding the government rescind it. The increasingly violent protests have resulted in several deaths and hundreds of injuries as police try to disperse them. While some parts of the country are protesting against the law granting nationality to any migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, others are specifically taking aim at the government’s decision to limit nationality only to non-Muslims. Critics say this clause is in violation of India’s secular constitution, and discriminates against Muslims by making religion a requirement for citizenship.
The resolution passed by Pakistan’s Lower House of Parliament states that the law goes against international human rights law, as it seeks to establish religion-based criteria for citizenship. The legislation, adds the resolution, also violates bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India, particularly those on security and the rights of minorities in the respective countries.
The House stressed that the status of minorities is India remains deplorable, and pointed to recent instances of minority persecution, including ‘cow vigilante squads’ targeting Muslims and low-caste Dalits through mob lynchings.
Also on Monday, Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar told the National Assembly that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar had loaned a collective $5.5 billion to Pakistan. Responding to a question, he said Riyadh had provided $3 billion, U.A.E. $2 billion, and Qatar $500 million.
According to Azhar, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government has, in its first year of power, retired $9.1 billion in public debt.
To a separate question, the minister said the government was trying to make the lives of the common man easier, adding that a Direct Credit System had been introduced, under which pension is now directly deposited to pensioners’ accounts.